Now that the iPhone’s in the picture, Verizon doesn’t want data hogs clogging its network. Verizon outlined its plans to throttle network speeds for customers who consume the most data. I think this is a very smart move on thier part. AT&T should have done this from the start.
“If you use an extraordinary amount of data and fall within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users we may reduce your data throughput speeds periodically for the remainder of your then current and immediately following billing cycle to ensure high quality network performance for other users at locations and times of peak demand,” the document [pdf] said. “Our proactive management of the Verizon Wireless network is designed to ensure that the remaining 95% of data customers aren’t negatively affected by the inordinate data consumption of just a few users.”
A large number of devices such as smartphones, netbooks and tablets rely on a cellular connection to pull data, and as a result, telecom carriers are resorting to methods such as network throttling and imposed data caps to mitigate traffic. This growing phenomenon of always-on devices ultimately led to the death of the unlimited data plan: AT&T discontinued its unlimited data plan for the iPhone last year, and Verizon’s unlimited data plan will only be available for a limited time before the company transitions to tiered pricing.
Network throttling against data-heavy customers is another move on Verizon’s part to prevent network congestion, perhaps to protect its reputation as the most reliable network. AT&T has not officially announced a similar throttling tactic, but it has expressed similar concern in the past about a small percentage of data-heavy users hogging network bandwidth.
In the same memo published today, Verizon also detailed plans to optimize its network by caching less data and sizing video more appropriately for the device.
“While we invest much effort to avoid changing text, image, and video files in the compression process and while any change to the file is likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may minimally impact the appearance of the file as displayed on your device,” the memo said.
This change already appears to be evident: in our tests, video on the Verizon iPhone looked more compressed than it did on the AT&T iPhone.